George Graham

The Tiresome Myth of Rubio’s “Latino” Appeal

If the Republicans think they will get “the Latino vote” by choosing Marco Rubio as Mitt Romney’s running mate, they are sadly mistaken. First, there is not really a “Latino vote.” Second, Rubio is not the kind of “Latino” who would make much of a difference in the presidential election.

Rubio is a Cuban. A Miami Cuban. Anti-Castro. Right-wing. His father was right-wing. His grandfather was right-wing. In Cuba his family were among the more prosperous citizens that Castro turfed out or gunned down when he came to power. Those Miami Cubans have been voting for the Republican Party ever since they got to America. And they will go on voting for the Republicans as long as the party continues its vendetta against Castro’s Cuba.

Also in the Miami area, there are Central Americans who were on the side of the United States in various covert operations during the past century or so. In return for abettting America’s “regime changing” operations in the covert war against Communism, these people got to come to America and live. You can bet their vote will go to Romney. He is one of their own.

But there are also many Spanish speaking Americans who despise the Republicans. Many Mexican-Americans, for example, have reason to be furious at anti-immigrant legislation adopted by Republican-dominated legislations across the country and by the extremist rhetoric of Romney and his ilk.

Choosing Rubio as Romney’s vice president will make the Miami “conservatives” happy, but they would have voted Republican anyway. No gain there. And Rubio won’t win one extra vote in New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona or any of the states where the “Latinos” happen to be from some other country besides Cuba.

Can you imagine a Puerto Rican voting for Romney-Rubio after hearing Rick Santorum order Puerto Ricans to learn English if they want their island to become a state?

That will be the day!

And can you imagine  many Mexicans opting for the Romney-Rubio ticket when Romney has repeatedly promised to veto the DREAM act if it gets passed by Congress?

Just because people come from countries that speak Spanish doesn’t mean they’re the same. Argentians and Puerto Ricans have little in common. Guatemalans and Cubans have very different stories to tell. So do Chileans and Mexicans, Nicaraguans and Colombians, Costa Ricans and Venezuelans… And by the way, Brazilians speak Portuguese, so they’re not even Hispanic.

Labeling all of the people from these diverse nations “Latino” and lumping them together as a voting bloc isn’t very bright.

But I can’t imagine anyone claiming that Republicans are very bright.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for